Size does matter. Just ask new MidCoast Business Chamber (MBC) president Graham Brown OAM.
He declares he is “the biggest optimist about the Manning Valley and now, the bigger local government area of MidCoast Council.”
The GPB Partners accountant knows the power of numbers in convincing government to act, and is leading a merger of eight local business chambers to create a powerful lobby group. At the moment he says it represents between 800 and 1000 businesses and tips membership will grow as momentum builds in the business community to create a powerful, unified voice that will press priorities to council.
Mr Brown believes MBC will play a dynamic role in the strategic economic development of the region - revealing MidCoast Council suggested the creation of the chamber - and contends its members will seek to cultivate a positive relationship with the three tiers of government.
“It’s early days and because they requested this from the chambers then to my mind it’s going to be very hard for them to not take notice of us.
“As a business community we are going to be able to say to council – these are the priorities – and sit down with council. To me, that is the big sell in this process.”
Mr Brown says “meetings will be about economic development and growing our economy.”
The new MBC will change the focus of local chambers in Taree, Wingham, Old Bar, Harrington, Forster-Tuncurry, Gloucester, Myall Coast and Bulahdelah.
“The business community has to realise that change is afoot. If they want things to move in a particular direction then their place is at the table in their local chamber so the message can filter up to the MBC and be discussed at a regular meeting with council.”
The frequency of meetings between MBC and council is yet to be finalised.
“We’ve just got to get conversations happening between business and council in the new era – they certainly were happening between Greater Taree and the chamber. The previous council saw meetings to be important enough to have the general manager, Ron Posselt attend and certainly it was my observation that stuff happened very fast because the general manager was in the meeting.”
He hopes MidCoast general manager, Glenn Handford will “have the ability to join the meetings if available.”